Darfur: the end of UNAMID and the risk of losing all the progress made

Tanzanian troops of the UNAMID contingent in Darfur, 2014 Tanzanian troops of the UNAMID contingent in Darfur, 2014 UN Photo/Albert González Farran

21 July 2020

The UN shift of commitment in Darfur could have serious consequences for the protection of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country

Since the end of the war in Darfur in 2009, the region has been characterised by continued instability, with significant violations of the rights of people who are internally displaced because of the conflict. For their safety, the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) was established in 2007. In June, however, the Security Council decided to replace UNAMID by the end of the year with the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS).

Internal refugees are completely dependent on UNAMID for their precarious subsistence and protection from armed groups in the region. The violence of these groups has recently increased due to the inability of the government - weakened by the transition started in 2019 - to counteract them, UNAMID's focus on COVID and the decrease of funds allocated to the ceasing mission. UNITAMS, however, will be a political mission, designed to facilitate a peaceful transition in the country, whose mandate will not include means for the protection of civilians. At the same time, the Sudanese transitional Government should take over from UNAMID in the material protection of refugees, but this is questioned given the government's inability to cope with the current growing violence. 

Given the current escalating violence, the termination of UNAMID will leave thousands of people without any kind of protection. This would not only endanger the lives of refugees but would also make it more difficult to stabilise the country, undermining the very mandate of UNITAMS. Therefore, in order not to lose the progress made by UNAMID, it would be preferable to have the two missions co-exist, rather than succeed one to another, until the complete stabilisation of Sudan.


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Author: Matteo Consiglio; Editor: Margherita Curti

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